This week, we’re looking at a trio of girl-power-centric sitcoms in Angel from Hell, Angie Tribeca and Idiotsitter; all of which are seeking to claim a place in the female comedy niche.
Angel From Hell
First up is Angel From Hell, a mismatched buddy comedy vehicle for Glee’s Jane Lynch. Lynch plays Amy, who claims to be schlemiel Allison’s (Maggie Lawson) guardian angel. Of course, Amy is no one’s idea of a perfect angel, as she drinks too much, embraces loud, confrontational confrontations and generally embarrasses the hell of out of Allison just before turning out to be right all along.
There are a couple of problems with this show, not the least of which is the overdone format, which doesn’t seem fresher or more original at all just because it’s Jane Lynch instead of Zach Galifianakis. Lynch was hilarious in small doses on Glee, but it remains to be seen if her act can sell for 30 minutes a week, and Angel should really try utilizing its other assets, in particular Kevin Pollack, who has been little more than window dressing up til now.
Angel From Hell has a chance to cure what ills it, but its apparent willingness to rely on Lynch and not more original storytelling is bound to damn this show to an early demise.
If you liked Wilfred, you might like Angel From Hell.
Another star vehicle sitcom is Angie Tribeca, a highly farcical police procedural starring Parks & Recreation’s Rashida Jones. This show is infused with silliness and has a gag-a-minute pace which necessitates that literally everything is fair game for its humor, including its product placement sponsorship.
Again, a failing of this type of comedy is a lack of originality, and you will have the undeniable sense of having seen all this before if you dive in and binge-watch Angie, as TBS is recommending (to take them up on it, check out the show’s free on-line episode library here. I personally think that’s a mistake, as the absurdist humor only carries the show so far, and eventually it will need to come up with a new schtick to keep it fresh.
If you liked Get Smart, you might like Angie Tribeca, which (no coincidence) is executive produced by Get Smart’s Steve Carrell.
Finally, there’s Comedy Central’s Idiotsitter, a gross-out comedy looking to capitalize on the trend represented by a show like Broad City. The problem with this one is that it lacks Broad City’s smart wit and occasional charm and instead goes consistently for shock-value humor.
After The Hangover, and Bridesmaids, and Hot Tub Machine, and The Hangover 2, and Ted, and Neighbors, and The Heat (do I have to keep going?), it should be clear that a weekly sitcom needs to come up with something better than the tired format of straight-gal (Charlotte Newhouse) brought together with woman-child (Jillian Bell) by happenstance.
This is yet a third example of an overused format being rehashed as something new just because the leads are women. Are we supposed to be impressed that girls can be irresponsible (but loveable) losers too? I’m not. Are you? Decide for yourself by checking out this clip:
If you liked Due Date, you might like Idiotsitter.
Ultimately, none of these shows features strong enough writing, performances or originality to draw and keep an audience. It is still possible to be funny on television, but not like this.
The X-Files is back on Fox on January 24!
The Magicians debuts on Syfy on January 25.
Lucifer premieres on Fox on January 25.
The series premiere of You, Me And The Apocalypse airs on NBC on January 28.
Grimm returns to NBS on January 29.
NHL All-Star weekend begins January 30 on NBC SportsChannel.
TV’s a big place and I haven’t been to all of it yet. Got a favorite show you’d like me to comment on? Post a comment below, contact me on twitter @RobLazlo. or shoot me an email: [email protected]. I welcome your input!